July 29, 2014

Do you envision the ideal?

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clear by mrszeldalink

Do you have a vision?  If you have no picture in your mind of the ideal state, either for yourself or your organization, you will stagnate.

An envisioned ideal helps you to constantly progress in the direction of a desired outcome – even if it is, for all intents and purposes, and unattainable ideal.  The Lean community refers to this as finding “True North.”  Even if you are unfamiliar with Lean’s philosophy, or think it’s a load of hooey – it’s hard to deny that imagining what the future ought to look like helps to orient everything else towards that perfect vision.

If, as you encounter problems, you are simply responding to each one in turn without much sense of how to learn and grow from it, you will only find yourself meandering from problem to problem forever.  In fact, you will likely find the same problems keep popping up – to be countered with the same solutions. Consequently, a boring, mindless do-loop results.  In the end, this dynamic leads only to activity for the sake of activity – and not for purposes of driving towards some goal.

In many cases, there’s not even a problem to tackle with an old, tired solution.  Often times, people will get busy just doing anything – since the demonstration of activity it what’s prized the most, far above actual accomplishment.  This is short-term thinking at its finest – a mindset that worries only about whether or not work of any sort is being done and not about what that work is bringing to bear for the future.

Activity for its own sake will, inevitably, be revealed as a waste.  People who seem to master the corporate game with connections and politics but produce nothing are, eventually, sniffed out.  Organizations that churn out products – even expensive, shiny ones but bring nothing of value to the market will, similarly, die out.  These entities do things for the sake of doing them, but have no understanding of why.

Developing that ideal vision for the future is fundamental to finding purpose.  Once you have that purpose – that guiding, inviolable sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing – you will begin to orient all your activities towards reaching that ideal.  You can only hide activities that go nowhere for so long.  To achieve any goal, personal or professional, you must first create your vision, define your purpose, and align every activity towards making that purpose a reality.


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  • Karen Wilhelm

    Too many “visions” are just a lot of really good words put together in a sentence. I’d add that your ideal must be heartfelt, and that sense of purpose and warmth should be shared by your management team, or you should have a management team that can come to share it.

    • http://myflexiblepencil.com David M. Kasprzak

      Thank you, Karen. My apologies to you, too, for my late reply.

      Your statement is wise. Meaningless lip service will be detected immediately in most cases and, if not, it is simply unsustainable over time. When people discover you don’t really mean it, they lose interest or, at worst, feel betrayed. What results is people working for a paycheck and not much else. Unfortunately, that is the situation most find themselves in – feigning interest in pursuit of monetary reward.

  • http://www.elseinc.com/ Robert Drescher

    Hi David
    You forgot one thing though the future has to look like something other than a dollar sign. Despite what many think money is the worst motivator on the face of the planet. The vision has to be something that truly makes peoplke want to reach it.

    • http://myflexiblepencil.com David M. Kasprzak

      Thank you, Robert. My apologies for being so late with my reply. I am finding it difficult, timewise, to keep up with the site these days. A good problem to have, as my work on the site has lead to some other opportunities, but it is a problem nonetheless!

      I wholeheartedly agree. The ideal workplace does not use money as a motivator. We all understand that motivation is intrinsic. It can’t be created with money. As I have stated on the site in past posts, cash only aligns the organization’s and the individual’s goals – and only for a very short period of time. The creation of a belief in something generates pride, and people are naturally geared to work harder and smarter for things they take pride in.

  • http://www.TobyElwin.com/ Toby Elwin

    Confusing activity for accomplishment is certainly not a lean, or even a compelling, way to maximize an opportunity.

    Whether it is true north or magnetic north a compelling direction at least charts a way to look at what’s in and what’s out. I find the hardest break for many is the break from setting off to just get things done without getting things accomplished. Constant launches without an articulated ideal tires a team as they take less and less emotional and visceral energy investment to simply protect themselves from committing too much to an endeavor likely to miss a mark.

    As many know, ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM?) is a filter everyone uses. Leaders, managers, and companies really need to flip the coin to set out ‘What’s In It For Them?’ (WIIFT?), then the ideal has a compass direction.

    Always great to get your read on all compass bearings David. The site and the community are really fantastic.

    Thank you – Toby